Morocco - The Party Place


I have to admit the city of Marrakech completed surprised me.  And surprised me in a wonderful way.  I had long wanted to visit Morocco and my plans to go there were delayed by a year.  In 2017, I made it, arriving in Casablanca and eventually ending up in Marrakesh.

We stayed in a charming Riad, which is a private house with a garden.   The Riad Kechmara is located on a side street not far from Jemaa el-Fnaa Square.

The square is the center of activity in the old town of Marrakech.  By day, it is filled with merchants selling everything from traditional Moroccan Djellabas (robe) to freshly squeezed orange juice.   The square is surrounded by a gigantic souk (bazaar) filled with hundreds of kiosks.

None of this was necessarily surprising.   The souk and the square are typical of what you might find in many Arab countries.    But what was surprising is the transformation that begins to happen at dusk.

Steve Hunsicker at dusk at the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square in Marrakesh, Morocco

Every night, as the sun goes down, the square is transformed.   The kiosks start to disappear, the vendors go home and for a brief period I thought that was it, everyone was going home.

I was wrong.   Because as the sun set, the party started to begin.   Thousands of people started arriving to simply "hang-out" with their family and friends.   Food vendors began arriving and the smell of delicious Moroccan food started to entice my stomach.

What's really special is that this party is fun and everyone, tourists and locals alike, are coming out to enjoy the time together.   Of course, there is no alcohol and no drugs, this is a Muslim country, but the spirit in the air was intoxicating.

I learned a long time ago, that a TV camera is often a magnet and people are attracted to it.  In Marrakech, when I got out the camera, I went from being a tourist to everyone's best friend.  

Six guys immediately jumped in front of the camera and started singing what I assume was a Moroccan version of “That’s the way I like it” followed by a cheer.  They were all smiling and having a great time performing for the camera.   Afterwards, they treated us to some French fries. 

The energy was infectious. The one minute video linked below will give you a good idea of what the atmosphere was like.

We were only in Marrakesh for a couple of nights but the activity on the square was not a special occasion.   We were told that this party happens every night.


You can see the video of the square during both day and date beginning at 16:07 in the episode of "Peruanos en el Mundo" that is linked below.

Our train out of Marrakesh was also memorable.   The air conditioning on the train was not working. When the train was in motion with the windows open, the temperature was bearable.  Unfortunately they were performing track work and the train would stop for long periods of time.  It was sweltering inside the train.  We were in the middle of the desert during the hottest part of the day.   We had water with us, but we ended up buying several large bottles more before we finally arrived back in Casablanca.  

Dates of Travel

  • August, 2017

Places Visited

  • Casablanca
  • Marrakesh
  • Rabat




This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

Post a Comment